Iranian authorities have closed about 7,000 unauthorized cryptocurrency mining facilities in the past two years, local media revealed. According to one report, most illegal bitcoin farms were concentrated in five provinces of the Islamic Republic, including Tehran.
Iran continues crackdown on unlicensed cryptocurrency mining
Iranian authorities disconnected and dissolved a total of 6,914 cryptocurrency farms operating without a mining license. This has been since authorities began cracking down on illegal cryptocurrency mining in 2020, Iranian English-language newspaper Financial Tribune revealed this week.
The newspaper cites a report by Iribnews.ir, which details that these facilities burned about 645 megawatts of electricity while minting digital coins without permission. This has been estimated to be equivalent to the annual consumption of three major regions – North Khorasan, South Khorasan and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari.
Cryptocurrency mining has been a legal industrial activity in Iran for nearly three years after the government passed regulations for the sector in July 2019. A licensing regime has been introduced and companies wishing to engage in the business need to obtain authorization from the Ministry. of Industries.
However, as registered crypto miners are forced to buy the electricity they need at higher export rates, many Iranian miners have chosen to remain under the radar. They often illegally connect to the grid and use subsidized electricity to power their mining hardware.
The Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company of Iran (Tavanir) is going after underground cryptocurrency farms, shutting them down and confiscating hundreds of thousands of mining machines. If identified, its operators could be fined for damage caused to the distribution network and a report last month revealed that the government is preparing to increase penalties.
The country’s electricity shortages last summer were partly attributed to increased use of electricity for minting and even licensed miners were asked to shut down their equipment. They were allowed to resume operations in September, but then again forced to suspend activities in the face of a growing energy deficit in the cold winter months.
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